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Diagenetic Microcrystalline Opal Varieties from the Monterey Formation, CA: HRTEM Study of Structures and Phase Transformation MechanismsMicrocrystalline opal varieties form as intermediary precipitates during the diagenetic transformation of biogenically precipitated non-crystalline opal (opal-A) to microquartz. With regard to the Monterey Formation of California, X-ray powder diffraction studies have shown that a decrease in the primary d-spacing of opal-CT toward that of cristobalite occurs with increasing diagenesis. The initial timing of opal-CT/quartz formation and the value of the primary opal-CT d-spacing, are influenced by the sediment. lithology. Transmission electron microscopy methods (CTEM/HRTEM) were used to investigate the structure of the diagenetic phases and establish transformation mechanisms between the varieties of microcrystalline opals in charts and porcelanites from the Monterey Formation. HRTEM images revealed that the most common fibrous varieties of microcrystalline opals contain varying amounts of structural disorder. Finite lamellar units of cristobalite-and tridymite-type. layer sequences were found to be randomly stacked in a direction perpendicular to the fiber axis. Disordered and ordered fibers were found to have coprecipitated within the same radial fiber bundles that formed within the matrix of the Most siliceous samples. HRTEM images, which reveal that the fibers within radial and lepispheric fiber bundles branch non-crystallographically, support an earlier proposal that microspheres in chert grow via a spherulitic growth mechanism. A less common variety of opal-CT was found to be characterized by non-parallel (low-angle) stacking sequences that often contain twinned lamellae. Tabular-shaped crystals of orthorhombic tridymite (PO-2) were also identified in the porcelanite samples. A shift in the primary d-spacing of opal-CT has been interpreted as an indication of solid-state ordering g toward a predominantly cristobalite structure, (opal-C). Domains of opal-C were identified as topotactically-oriented overgrowths on discrete Sections of opal-CT fibers and as lamellar domains within relict opal-CT fibers. These findings indicate that the type of transformation mechanism depends upon the primary structural characteristics of the authigenic opaline. varieties that are in turn influenced by the sediment lithology.
Document ID
20020009750
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Cady, Sherry L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Wenk, H.-R. (California Univ. Berkeley, CA United States)
DeVincenzi, Don
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
Rept-30124
Meeting Information
GSA Annual Meeting(Seattle, WA)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 185-52-32
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.